Chevy Volt’s Impressive Advocate Marketing

Dutch HollisI drive a Chevy Volt. And, like the testimonials in the commercials, I love it. I post on Facebook about my mileage (currently 157 mpg) and share with anyone who asks how much I like the car. Suffice it to say that I’m not an impartial observer to the Chevy marketing team’s latest efforts to get the word out, but it’s exciting nonetheless.
Last week an unexpected package showed up from Chevrolet. It was heavy and sent FedEx. When I opened it I found several things inside. One was a perforated 11 x 17 piece of card stock. It had 10 informational cards I could pull apart and hand out to folks who asked about my Chevy Volt. They are very nicely printed, full-color pieces and I will hand some out as the occasion arises. While this is advocate marketing at its finest, I wasn’t terribly excited about it because I work in digital marketing. Print isn’t dead, but it’s not as much fun.

Also enclosed was a very well constructed, full-color, hard-cover book about the history and development of the Volt. There are great pictures and it is well written – it’s coffee-table quality. Whether this is meant to be an incentive or a thank-you for the marketing assist, it does the job – I felt like what they sent me had significant value, making it easy for me to want to join the cause.

Last, but by any measure not least was a window cling that had a QR code on it. Now, that got me excited! My Volt can do the talking to curious passers-by when I’m not there. Scanning the code takes one to a mobile-optimized website with Volt info and a nice video. The video is a little dated and the site takes some time to load even on 4G, but the mobile experience is otherwise top-notch.

My understanding after doing some research is that these “kits” come with new Volt deliveries, but have been sent to the thousands of Volt drivers who purchased theirs before the kits were added. With 18,000 sold and counting, Chevy is leveraging the brand advocacy of these early adopters to get the message out in a convincing way. Volt sales in the first 6 months of this year have surpassed all of last year’s sales. Whether or not that has anything to do with happy Volt drivers or not isn’t clear, but this campaign is likely to help.

And one final thought – Volt drivers are connected early adopters. Many of us have our stats posted to voltstats.net via OnStar automatically, we swap stories, we engage online, we compete – so it’s fair to assume that we want to be as much a part of the technology as of the experience. It would have been great if Chevy did personalized QR codes by customer (or Volt/VIN) so we could log on to see how many scans each one is getting. Sure, the level of effort to do this increases, but if they could game-ify this brand advocacy experience, then watch out! Maybe someone at the General is listening.

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